The Golden hoverfly (Callicera spinolae) is a large, colourful, hairy hoverfly that is under threat. It is found in East Anglia, and has only historically been known from eight sites. Recent surveys for the hoverfly have only found it at two sites, if it is lost from these sites it could become extinct in the UK
|Golden hoverfly (Callicera spinolae) © Rob Garrod|
The adult hoverflies can be found feeding from ivy flowers in autumn. Ivy is an important plant for bugs as it provides shelter and a safe place to hide. Unusually, it also flowers in the autumn at a time when there may be few or no other major sources of pollen and nectar.
The hoverfly larvae live in rot holes in trees. Golden hoverflies are saproxylic, which means they are dependent on decaying wood.
|A rot hole in a Beech tree © Roger Key|
A possible reason for the decline of this species is a lack of rot holes in trees. Changes in woodland management have lead to a decline in available dead wood in UK woodlands. Where the amount of dead wood, either as fallen branches and trees, or as decaying parts of live trees, has declined so have the invertebrates reliant on this. There are more than 1700 different invertebrate species in Britain and Ireland which are dependent on decaying wood in order to complete their life cycles. These include other hoverflies, longhorn beetles, bark beetles, and some click beetles.
|Dead wood is an important home for many types of bug © Roger Key|
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